💜 Austin's Violet Crown obsession, explained
- 5 min read

💜 Austin's Violet Crown obsession, explained

Plus, an exclusive look at a $10 million office building coming to East Austin.


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☀️ Hey, Austin.

Violet Crown Cinema, Violet Crown Social Club, Violet Crown Trail. What's with this idiom that's all over Austin? Today, we break it down for you, 'cause we love you.

Plus, an exclusive look at a $10 million office building and a $27 million home.

An Austin sunset is nothing without its Violet Crown

Rick Kern/WireImage/Getty Images

If you’ve lived in Austin for a while, you may have noticed the term "Violet Crown" used in various business names and one popular hiking trail. But do you know where it comes from or how it happens?

According to Dane Anderson of the Austin History Center Association, "Violet Crown" was first used by Greek poet Theognis in 550 B.C. to describe the violet and purple sky at sunset over Athens.

This beautiful phenomenon — also known as the "Belt of Venus" — is a pinkish, purplish glow that extends 10 to 20 degrees above the horizon.

While ol' Theognis may have coined the term over 2,500 years ago, the earliest published mention of Austin as the City of Violet Crown came in an April 1894 Austin Daily Statesman article, “The Rest of the News.”

The feature celebrated the day Austinites voted to build a granite dam over the Colorado River to provide power to the city and light the famed moontowers.

That same year, American writer O. Henry authored a short story in Rolling Stone about a home in the western hills. "Tictocq” was published in August October 1894.

“The drawing-rooms of one of the most magnificent private residences in Austin are a blaze of lights. Carriages line the streets in front, and from gate to doorway is spread a velvet carpet, on which the delicate feet of the guests may tread.
The occasion is the entrée into society of one of the fairest buds in the City of the Violet Crown. The rooms are filled with the culture, the beauty, the youth, and fashion of society. Austin society is acknowledged to be the wittiest, the most select, and the highest bred to be found southwest of Kansas City.”

What's the science behind the Violet Crown?

During sunset, sunlight passes through more of the atmosphere than during the day when the sun is higher in the sky, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This means that there are more molecules to scatter the violet and blue light. However, when there are more clouds and dust particles in the atmosphere, the light can effectively reflect the pink, orange and red colors down to your eyes.

As Austin grows and pollution increases, it becomes harder to see the Violet Crown from downtown.

However, Anderson believes you can still see the soft, purple glow of the Violet Crown over the Hill Country if you head west, out of the city. That’s your best shot at getting that perfect, postcard-worthy Texas sunset.

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist

Temperature: 73 degrees    Sun: Making an appearance after lunch    What to Expect: Good Moods

Welcome to meteorological spring — the months of March, April and May, which give forecasters a consistent timeframe for record keeping. Astronomical spring is determined by the Earth’s position around the sun. Anyhoo, it will feel very spring-like with early morning clouds and then sunshine by the afternoon.

Mary’s Tip: Make it a “lunch outside” type of day with some Veracruz tacos.

A $10M office building is coming to East 7th

A swanky new office building is coming to East Austin, not far from the East Sixth Street retail district.

Local design firm Dick Clark + Associates plans to start construction in July on the four-story, 45,800-square-foot project at the northwest corner of the crossing between 7th and Pedernales streets, according to a recent filing with the Texas Department of Licensing Regulation, which identifies the building’s name as Workbench.

The filing indicates that construction will cost $10 million and will wrap up in October 2025.

The vacant lot and building's future home is about a block away from an H-E-B as well as the offices of H-E-B Digital and Favor Delivery, the grocer's home delivery brand.

The office building will be constructed with mass timber, an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete and steel, according to the website of Dick Clark + Associates. The ground floor will feature 5,800 square feet of space for a restaurant and 1,600 square feet for retail. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

— Richard Webner, Contributing Reporter

There's a $27 million home for sale in Austin (no, really)

Shutterbug Studios/Gary and Michelle Dolch with Austin Luxury Group

Welcome back to another episode of We’re Poor.

I hope y’all are sitting down for this one, because a $27 million home is listed for sale right next to Mount Bonnell. 

We have some questions:

  1. How?
  2. Why?

Located at 4904 Tortuga Place, the six-bedroom, seven-bath abode also features three fireplaces, a covered two-story boat dock, a pool and outdoor patio areas. It’s been on the market for six days.

Travis County appraised the property for $6.85 million in 2023. What type of gold-encrusted renovations can the buyer expect for such a wild increase!?

Who wants to put money on which tech billionaire will buy it? (Cough Musk cough.)

So... Whataburger or P. Terry's?

We posed that question to our readers and Instagram followers Monday, and geez ... y'all had some capital T Thoughts. Here's a look:

55%: Whataburger
45%: P. Terry's

And here are the best responses we got:

"hands down, no contest, P. Terry's as a vegetarian you can not beat the burger at P. Terry's!" — Pamela S.
"1000% P’Terry’s. Is that even debatable? Hehe." — Anna P.
"There is simply no comparison. Whataburger is a Texas tradition and my favourite," adding that P. Terry's is good, "but it's not a Whataburger." — JW Jones

Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Mary Wasson and Richard Webner.